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January 15 , 2010

Eberhard Weber at 70

Eberhard Weber, one of the most distinguished European jazz musicians, will celebrate his 70th birthday in his home in the south of France on January 22. The bass player and composer’s first album on ECM, “Colours of Chloё” recorded in December 1973 marked the start of a long-standing collaboration with Manfred Eicher’s label that resulted in 11 more discs until 2006. In November 2009 Weber received the prestigious German Jazz Award / Albert Mangelsdorff Preis in recognition of his lifetime achievement at Jazzfest Berlin. The laudatio was delivered by Manfred Schoof.

Two and a half years after his stroke while on tour with the Jan Garbarek Group Eberhard Weber has now spoken in more detail about his health status. In a recent interview published in the German daily “Die Welt” Weber says he feels to be “on a standby-position. There is no way I can really play as my left side is still partially debilitated. I tend to put it this way: It’s hardly probable that I will ever get back to my original state. But that shouldn’t be taken as a final assessment.” In the meantime Weber works on a new project: “For 25 years I was on tour with Jan Garbarek. We always had a sound engineer with us who recorded every concert. I asked him to pull out my unaccompanied soli – Jan likes to have his musicians play on their own in the transitions between the individual pieces. All in all it’s twelve hours of material now, and I would really like to release a selection of it one day. Maybe I’d even play a couple of deep tones or drones with it. I’m really looking forward to this.” Read the full interview (in German) here.

A 3-CD-set containing Weber’s historic albums with “Colours” was released last November. “These lucid, thickly flowing and moody sessions are the essence of runic North European jazz”, writes Garry Booth in BBC Music Magazine. “What a treat for Weber fans and a fascinating diversion for Garbarek group followers too!”

An extensive essay by John Kelman on “Colours” can be found here .